When it comes to the workplace, one of the most difficult things to deal with is also one of the toughest ones to discuss—stress. It can be challenging to address workplace stress without feeling like you are a weak link or are causing unrest amongst coworkers. Here are some tips for reducing stress and increasing productivity.
1. Take Vacation Days
It may sound elementary, but according to statistics, American workers wasted a record 658 million unused vacation days in 2015 alone. (Project Time Off). We have vacation days for a reason. Everyone needs to decompress sometimes. So don’t be a martyr; take some time off and recharge your brain. When you come back refreshed, you will be ready to jump back into your work.
2. Live Well
We have all been there, inhaling a crummy sandwich at our desk while catching up on emails. And, it’s okay to do this once and a while when you are in a crunch, it is important not to make it a habit. Get up from your desk and get outside. Even if you prefer to bring your lunch, you should get out for a few minutes of fresh air and to stretch your legs.
At night, put down the phone and power down your tablet. The more well rested you are the better you will feel the next day, which means you will be more productive without needing 6 cups of coffee. The better we take care of ourselves, the happier we are, and that translates into less stress at work and home.
3. Eliminate Distractions
Phones, computers, email, deadlines…we are constantly bombarded during the day, which leaves us feeling frazzled and frustrated. One easy way to be more productive is to eliminate distractions. Turn off your cell phone ringer and shut off your email alert pop-up. Every time you are interrupted, you lose momentum making even simple tasks take longer to complete. Carve out time in the morning and afternoon to check and respond to messages. If you work in a busy office, consider getting noise-canceling headphones or a quiet white noise machine for your desk. When you remove distractions, you can focus better, resulting in higher productivity and reduced anxiety.
The CEO of LinkedIn, Jeff Weiner, said in an interview he meditates as part of his daily routine. I heard that interview and decided to try it myself. That was about a year ago. I found an app called Headspace. It is a simple, easy way to train yourself to refocus and recenter yourself during your day. The app encourages you to meditate first thing in the morning. I tend to use it at night or for a few minutes during the day. It helps me reduce anxiety and refocus my scattered brain on the tasks I need to accomplish. Use whatever method you like, but I encourage you to seek out some silence during your day!